unadrift: (team)
[personal profile] unadrift
Title: Tell Me What You See
Author: [personal profile] unadrift
Rating: PG
Categories: Gen, humor
Characters: Dusty, Rodney, team
Words: 2300
Notes: Tag for Whispers, written for the Season 5 Tagathon on [livejournal.com profile] sga_episodefic. Thank you to [livejournal.com profile] ambrosia4all for the beta!




"So, you're McKay," Dusty says and places her tray opposite to his on the table.

McKay's brownie stops halfway to his mouth. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, since he seems to have had a few too many in his life, anyway. He looks up from the magazine he's been reading – something with a lot of text, and squiggly lines in diagrams in between. "You're new," he says, eyes narrowed. It's not a question.

Dusty might be new, but she has already been warned, several times, not to cross paths with Doctor Rodney McKay if she can avoid it. This warning seems to be given to all new personnel upon arrival, delivered with a certain ring of holy first commandment of Atlantis to it. This had only tickled Dusty's curiosity.

McKay pointedly looks at the free tables around them, then back at her. "I'm reading," he says.

"That's okay," she answers and stabs the spoon into her oatmeal. "Carry on. It doesn't bother me."

He puts down the brownie and straightens. "Yes, well, it bothers me. Go find yourself your own table."

It's a little amusing to see this nervous guy, this scientist, puff up to try and spread an air of authority. "I like this one," she informs him matter-of-factly, daring him to do something about it.

McKay glares openly at her. "Look, uh--"

"Dusty," she offers and spoons some oatmeal into her mouth.

"Dusty," he repeats and gets that look on his face, the one she's all too used to by now. But then again, it's not that, not quite. Instead of suppressing the reaction, McKay actually does laugh out loud and point at her. "Really? I mean, Dusty? A marine named Dusty? There has got to be a regulation against that somewhere."

"What's wrong with the name?" she asks, and thinks that she might already have an idea why people volunteer to clean out the main garbage recycling unit for three hours instead of spending half an hour working with McKay.

He is still pointing his finger, stabbing it in her direction for emphasis now. "Oh, only the fact that I'd expect to encounter it in a strip club rather than a military--" his voice drifts off. "Er--" he says and meets her eyes briefly. "That didn't really--"

"Come out right?" she finishes for him, smiling evilly. In truth, she has been teased about this far too often for it to be a problem anymore. But watching McKay squirm is fun.

"Yes," he says, relieved, and seems to think that he's been let off the hook.

"Men with girls' first names really shouldn't throw stones," Dusty says and watches him go interesting shades of red. She has just broken Atlantis's second commandment. The Meredith thing is pointed out to the new arrivals to avoid situations like this one, not create them.

McKay clutches the magazine a little tighter in his hand. "It would be really great if you went away now and-- and-- got lost in remote parts of the city?" He tilts his head, pretending to think. "Yes, that would work. Goodbye." He picks up his brownie again.

Unimpressed, Dusty takes a sip from her glass of milk. "So, what is it with Sheppard?" she asks.

He freezes, and with a put-upon sigh, he puts down his dessert again. "You've been here how long? Either his reputation precedes him, or you're on the fast track. By all means, try your luck, he isn't seeing anyone." He makes shooing motions with his free hand. "Now go."

Dusty withstands the temptation to laugh out loud, only just, although a snort might have escaped her.

McKay looks at her sharply. "What?"

"Dating Sheppard? That's the last thing on my mind," she says. "I've seen the guy in action. It's kind of pathetic."

McKay's eyes widen comically, but then he smiles an infuriating, knowing, little smile. "So you've fallen for the dumb act." He sounds pleased and nods to himself. "Sheppard's still got it in him."

McKay can't be serious. "If that's an act I'm going to eat my--"

"Ah!" he interrupts her with a raised finger. "I'd pick something with nutritional value and a low eew factor, if I was you."

"--boots," she finishes, frowning.

"I so want to be around for that meal." McKay grins. "Hey, wait. You've 'seen him in action'?" It takes him a moment to connect the dots. "Ah. You must be one of the femme-squad, then."

Dusty raises her eyebrows. She hasn't heard that one before.

McKay starts squirming, eyes darting everywhere but her face. "I'm-- uh. I heard about-- I'm really sorry. She dug me out from under a collapsed building once."

Which seemed to be McKay's way of saying 'Vega was good at her job', even if he can't remember her name.

"Yeah," Dusty says, sipping her milk. McKay doesn't break the silence for a solid two minutes. Dusty figures she should mention this to someone in the future because it seems like a pretty profound accomplishment, considering the things she's heard about him.

"Zombies?" he asks, finally, when he can't seem to take it anymore. Dusty wonders why it doesn't occur to him to just get up and leave. He could have done so right in the beginning. But then again, he doesn't seem like the backing-down kind of guy.

And she might be just a little grateful for the distraction now. "Yep. Zombies. And fog. A lot of fog."

"Clammy climate always makes my joints ache," McKay says mournfully.

Dusty shoots him a look, not sure if he's joking. It seems that he isn't. "That would've been the least of your worries," she deadpans.

"It's so much nicer to worry about aching joints rather than fall into a panic over zombies that are trying to eat me. I do possess a strong survival instinct," he says, and he's serious.

She rolls her eyes. This guy can't be real. "They weren't. Trying to eat us. I think," she clarifies.

"That's beside the point." He waves his hand in her general direction. "The point is-- What was the question again?"

"There wasn't one." By god, McKay really is annoying, but he has got a certain entertainment value.

"Well, maybe not, but I had a point--" He snaps his fingers, then picks up the brownie and stuffs half of it into his mouth. He keeps talking. It's not a nice sight. "Carson gave me a copy of the data you found in the facility, and wow, this was one of Michael's more stupid experiments. No wonder he abandoned it. Michael was clearly out of his mind, meddling with DNA like that. Seriously, who would engineer the sharpest human sense away, if they wanted to create something that is better at hunting than a human?"

The thought hasn't occurred to her, but it does make sense now that McKay mentions it. Or rather, it doesn't make any sense. "That's why they oozed fog," she speculates. "To even the score."

"Maybe," McKay concedes distantly, staring through her. "But it's still a moronic concept. How much fog can one of these creatures possibly produce? Definitely not enough to confuse a number of pursuers. Or its prey." Dusty makes a face at that. McKay continues, oblivious. "Maybe Michael was mentally unstable when he started this project? More so than usual? Maybe right after he turned back into a Wraith? I'll have to talk to Carson about this. Write him, obviously. Not that this has any actual value for our current problems, since Michael isn't really one of them. But it might be important for future--"

Dusty tunes him out and wonders if this is how McKay always works, laying the facts out before himself, talking himself through them, until a solution presents itself. She is shaken out of her thoughts when McKay says a word that is guaranteed to get her attention.

"--explosion? I mean, how did you even know who you were shooting?"

She can't piece together whether there's been a bridge over the conversational gap somewhere, or whether McKay has just switched topics without segue in between. And who had given the guy the mission report, anyway?

"We didn't know. Just shot everything that moved. Sheppard's brilliant plan," she points out.

"Yeah, well. It certainly sounds like him."

"The guy's insane."

McKay frowns at her. "Should you be talking about your commanding officer like that?"

"If you're not telling him, I certainly won't." She scrapes the last bit of oatmeal out of the bowl.

"Mensa would have granted Sheppard a membership," McKay says conversationally. "He passed the test. You know Mensa, right?"

She tries not to look surprised. "Yes, I know Mensa. The club where awkwardly intelligent people can bond over playing chess, or whatever."

"There's a little more to it than that," he answers stiffly. "My point is, Sheppard isn't stupid, far from it. He's just-- a little too eager to risk his life for others."

Dusty snorts. If this is true, it's the understatement of the century. "So he's intelligent, huh? He can do what? Solve equations in his head?"

"As a matter of fact, I can. You're not ruining my reputation here, are you, Rodney?"

Dusty looks up to find Sheppard standing behind McKay's chair, tray in his hands. McKay doesn't turn around. "What's to ruin?" he asks off-handedly, smiling down at the table.

Sheppard sits down next to him and greets Dusty with a, "Sergeant," and a forced smile. He's got Teyla Emmagan and Ronon Dex, the resident aliens, in tow. All of the sudden, Dusty is completely surrounded by Sheppard's team, and she tells herself that she doesn't feel intimidated in the slightest.

McKay's eyes are immediately drawn to Dex's full tray. "Hey, are you going to--"

"Yes," Dex says. "I am. Try to steal my cake, and you die." He sounds serious, but McKay just rolls his eyes.

"How are you settling in on Atlantis, Sergeant?" Teyla asks, and it takes Dusty a moment to realize that she's been addressed.

The evening turns to be one of the more interesting ones she's spent in the Pegasus galaxy so far. Teyla keeps trying to make polite conversation, with a steely undertone that insists on answers. It isn't even unpleasant the way it should be. Ronon Dex surprisingly doesn't choke on the amount of food he stuffs in his mouth and is, unsurprisingly, mostly quiet. McKay does steal half the cake but gets nothing more than a resigned look of exasperation in return. And Sheppard-- Sheppard is hard to grasp. He observes, he cracks jokes, and he winds McKay up like it's the most rewarding pastime ever.

Sheppard doesn't like her much, Dusty can tell, but it's not like she cares. But she starts to feel more and more like intruder at this table, anyway.

What she didn't get before, she gets it now. Dusty can see why this team gets things done, why they work. She can piece it together from the mission reports she's read, from the stories that are passed from mouth to ear in the locker rooms, and now from first-hand experience. McKay talks at double speed to compensate for Dex's stoic silence, and he thinks twice as hard to complement Sheppard's lack of common sense. They return the favor when McKay needs to hear the voice of reason and to get his head pulled out of his ass.

In a way, Teyla is the team's conscience, with McKay personifying its oversized brain, Sheppard the instinct, and Ronon the muscle. But actually, this is all crap. Because there must be more to it than just that. Because Dusty can't for the life of her understand how they are all still alive and kicking.

"So, uh. I'm going to call it a night," McKay says after he's polished off not only the cake, but Sheppard's coffee, too.

"You're sneaking back into the lab, you mean," Sheppard guesses. "No sneaking tonight. You're going to get some rest. We can't have you falling asleep in the monthly science division meeting again."

"I did not fall asleep!" McKay huffs. "Never mind what Zelenka says. That man is after my job."

"You snored."

"I cannot snore when I am fully awake!"

"Right. If you say so," Sheppard says, amused. "You're still not going back to the lab." He stands and pulls McKay up by his sleeve.

"Hey, uh, Dusty," McKay says, as an afterthought, "It was-- nice meeting you. You're sort of-- interesting? For a soldier."

"Thanks?" Dusty answers, sensing a convoluted compliment somewhere in there. "Are you hitting on me? You better not be hitting on me."

"No!" He takes a step back, looking truly horrified. Dusty can't bring herself to feel insulted.

Sheppard grins and takes pity on McKay. "Well, it's been fun," he says, and tugs McKay along.

"Sir," she answers formally, with just a hint of sarcasm. Ronon raises a hand at them and Teyla nods her goodbye.

They turn to go. Dusty hears Sheppard say, "Why didn't you hit on her? You'd be so cute together," and McKay slaps him on the arm. Hard. The answering, "Ow", is barely audible anymore, and then they are out of sight.

"Tell me," Dusty asks, "when your team goes off-world, is that a little like Mom and Dad taking the kids to Disneyland?"

Teyla seems to get the reference, because she chokes on her tea. Ronon just looks at Dusty funny. "What?"

"Later," Teyla manages to utter between coughs.

Dusty smiles to herself. Maybe, just maybe, after they picked up the pieces, her team can have something that is a little bit like this.



- end -



Look, Listen, Learn (tag for 5x06) // Skin Deep (tag for 5x08)

Date: 2008-09-14 10:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] altyronsmaker.livejournal.com
Nice. Dusty all insinuating herself, then feeling distinctly uncomfortable once the whole team is there. Rodney flustered by her, but unwilling to move, because he's, you know, Rodney.

Excellent. :D

Date: 2008-09-15 04:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
\o/ Thank you!

Date: 2008-09-14 10:56 am (UTC)
ext_3572: (sga team meal)
From: [identity profile] xparrot.livejournal.com
Awww, cute look at the team! and Dusty wanting a similar team of her own, double-aww!

(and heh - about halfway through the ep I decided I would be far more on board with Rodney/Dusty than with...certain other 'ships they're trying to push *cough*)

Date: 2008-09-15 05:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
I really felt that Dusty and Rodney needed to meet. *g*

(about halfway through the ep I decided I would be far more on board with Rodney/Dusty than with...certain other 'ships they're trying to push *cough*
They really are going to push it, aren't they? Jennifer seemed to be around in the beginning of the last ep only to have Rodney shoot meaningful looks at her. *shakes head*)

Date: 2008-09-14 12:04 pm (UTC)
tarlanx: (McKay - Happy 1 by Belinghoff79)
From: [personal profile] tarlanx
Wonderful insight into the team! Enjoyed this :-)

Date: 2008-09-15 05:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2008-09-14 12:25 pm (UTC)
copracat: Ronon and Teyla smiling at each other in the foreground, Rodney in the background with text 'John's OT3' (atlantis tsf)
From: [personal profile] copracat
McKay talks at double speed to compensate for Dex's stoic silence, and he thinks twice as hard to complement Sheppard's lack of common sense.

Hee! I like Dusty and how you have written her very much.

Date: 2008-09-18 04:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Thank you! I really hope we'll see her again.

Date: 2008-09-14 02:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] crownglass39.livejournal.com
This is great! I love your Dusty and her insights into the team.

Date: 2008-09-18 04:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! Dusty should meet the entire team at some point. *eyes the PTB hopefully*

Date: 2008-09-14 03:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fanarts-series.livejournal.com
i love Rusty and this story is amazing, perhaps a to be continued off world ?
*Dusty smiles to herself. Maybe, just maybe, after they picked up the pieces, her team can have something that is a little bit like this.*

Rusty, it's difficult to be As the SGA-1 team !

Date: 2008-09-18 04:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2008-09-14 03:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] trystings.livejournal.com
I like it. I think Dusty shows a lack of common sense belittling her CO to McKay (can't imagine a Sgt. - and new at that - would do that), but I also have huge love for people underestimating Sheppard and being put in their place, so it's ok. And Rodney is spot on. :)

Date: 2008-09-18 04:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
I think Dusty shows a lack of common sense belittling her CO to McKay
Hmm. You've got a point there. Although her dismay is obvious in the episode. And she seems like someone who speaks her mind. My take is that she'd maybe dare to do so in front of civilians.
Also, people underestimating Sheppard because of his dumb act (which they really overdid in this ep, in my opinion) = love, yes!

Date: 2008-09-14 04:46 pm (UTC)
ext_1771: Joe Flanigan looking A-Dorable. (Default)
From: [identity profile] monanotlisa.livejournal.com
Aw, I adore this -- great view at the team, their dynamics, and of course you give us a thoroughly enjoyable Sgt. Dusty Mehra!

Date: 2008-09-18 04:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
:-) Thank you!

Date: 2008-09-14 04:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gnine.livejournal.com
Heee, cute! Like her hope that she can someday maybe have a team like this! Awwww, TEAM!!! *sparkles in joy*

Date: 2008-09-18 04:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
\o/ Thank you! Yes, team!

Date: 2008-09-14 05:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dragojustine.livejournal.com
The outsider POV of the team is wonderful. Also, I ADORE her realization that McKay has a certain entertainment value. Heh.

Date: 2008-09-18 05:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
:-) Thank you!

Date: 2008-09-14 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kateri-e.livejournal.com
ROFL, oh that was great. Dusty was my fav part of that whole episode... specially when she made the comment about how boring the Milky Way had become. In an odd way she and McKay WOULD make a good couple

Date: 2008-09-14 10:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bibliokat.livejournal.com
I *love* your icon.

Date: 2008-09-18 05:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
In an odd way she and McKay WOULD make a good couple
You know, I've been thinking the same thing myself. They just had to meet!

Date: 2008-09-14 09:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rinsbane.livejournal.com
Team! I love "outsider" POV fics on the team So Much. And this is perfect, the way the pieces slot together for her. There's such a guilty, almost voyeuristic pleasure to it.

Date: 2008-09-18 08:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
I felt that Dusty really needed to meet the team -- Rodney in particular. Therefore: this. *g* Thank you!

Date: 2008-09-14 10:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bibliokat.livejournal.com
This is awesome, much like Dusty herself:)

"when your team goes off-world, is that a little like Mom and Dad taking the kids to Disneyland?"

YES.

Date: 2008-09-18 05:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
*g* Thank you!

Date: 2008-09-15 05:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] trishkafibble.livejournal.com
I like it!! =D Very believable and entertaining dynamics all 'round--now all we need is the scene a month or so later, when Dusty plunks down in front of Rodney with a pair of boots, her combat knife, and lots of barbecue sauce.... ^^

Date: 2008-09-18 05:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
But she only gets barbecue sauce if Rodney is feeling particularly magnanimous. *g*

Date: 2008-09-16 01:10 am (UTC)
goddess47: Emu! (Default)
From: [personal profile] goddess47
"Tell me," Dusty asks, "when your team goes off-world, is that a little like Mom and Dad taking the kids to Disneyland?"


::snorfle::

Nice look at the 'new kid' -- poor Dusty gets short shrift otherwise....

Date: 2008-09-18 08:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Thank you! I liked Dusty a lot. And she just begged to be introduced to Rodney... *g*

Date: 2008-09-19 12:31 pm (UTC)
ext_127: (Default)
From: [identity profile] ariadne83.livejournal.com
Damn. Now I really want to ship Dusty/Rodney :)

Date: 2008-10-13 09:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Damn. Now I really want to ship Dusty/Rodney :)
Um, sorry? *g*

Date: 2009-09-12 12:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taiteilija.livejournal.com
This is a fabulous tag to Whispers! I loved Dusty in the episode, and this fic makes me like her even more. Nice work ♥

Date: 2011-01-05 07:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sakurablue13.livejournal.com
yeaaaaaahhh..... i LOVE Dusty! ^^
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